Dock space adds value to
By Louise Bolger
SUN STAFF WRITER
Water, water everywhere, but not a drop
to drink? How about, water, water everywhere, but no place
to keep your boat? Thats whats happening in Florida
despite the fact that Florida has 1,197 miles of coastline
in addition to 11,000 miles of rivers, streams and other waterways.
The Sunday New York Times reported in July on the shortage
of dock space in the state of Florida. This, of course, comes
as no surprise to boat owners in Manatee County and on Anna
Maria Island who may have been scrambling recently to find
a place to keep their boats. Many marinas have recently close
to make way for new construction or are getting ready to convert
to "dockominiums" and "rackominiums."
The bottom line is that there are fewer and fewer dock spaces
available for people who are not lucky enough to own property
with a dock. According to the Times, its so bad in Miami
that companies have sprouted up with the sole purpose of finding
available dock space for individuals.
To make matters even worse, the number of registered boats
in Florida is growing faster than the population. Boat registrations
were up 30 percent in 2004, but the states population
was only up by 21 percent. In Lee County (Naples), there are
91 registered boats per 1,000 people, about double what you
might find in more populated northern states. And the boats
are getting bigger with 60 and 80 foot vessels not uncommon
on our local waters.
So how do you think this impacts real estate values which
are already through the roof? If you own a condo or single-
family home with a boat slip attached to it, hold on to your
hats. By some estimates, your property is probably worth a
minimum of 10percent more than if you did not have legal dock
Thats a conservative figure, in my opinion, based on
Longboat Key Moornings and Riveria Dunes dockominiums which
start at about $250,000 for a 40-foot slip plus annual fees.
If you are lucky enough to find a commercial marina for your
50-foot boat, you can expect to pay $600 to $750 a month.
The Times quotes Lawton Chiles III, son of the late Florida
governor and brother of Ed Chiles, as saying that the condominium
project he is building in northwest Florida has an added value
of about $150,000 per unit because of the boat slips. Since
these condo units are starting at $695,000, Mr. Childs
estimate of value is better than 20 percent.
Because of environmental issues, even if you own property
on the water, getting permission to build a dock can often
take a year or more to obtain, if you can get it. This is
in addition to the expense and inconvenience to you and your
neighbors during the construction. All of this makes existing,
residential dock space more and more valuable as the population
of both people and boats increases.
Florida is suddenly in the position of having to manage growth
for both people and boats, a scenario that can only bring
a smile to the faces of property owners with boat docks
as if we needed more to be happy about.